John M. Becker

Janet Mock Treats Cis Journalist Like a Trans Person

Filed By John M. Becker | April 30, 2014 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Alicia Menendez, interviews, invasive questions, Janet Mock, reporting, trans bodies

janet-mock-headshot.pngYesterday, in a segment on Alicia Menendez's Fusion TV show AM Tonight, author and trans advocate Janet Mock turned the tables on the media's treatment of transgender people, grilling Menendez -- who is cisgender -- with a host of incredibly invasive questions about her anatomy and medical history.

"Do you have a vagina?" Mock asked Menendez. "When was the moment that you felt your breasts budding? Did you use tampons?" Mock also repeatedly phrased questions in a way that set Menendez up as a spokeswoman for all cisgender females.

The exercise was intended to call attention to the way the mainstream media -- and even well-meaning journalists who consider themselves trans allies -- objectifies, dehumanizes, and tokenizes trans people by obsessively fixating on their bodies and their genitalia rather than treating them as, you know, people. Transgender people face questions like the ones Mock put to Menendez, which most respectable reporters wouldn't even dream of asking anyone else, every day.

Afterwards, Menendez said that although she knew the purpose of the segment and even helped to write some of the interview questions, she "didn't realize how awful and invasive" they really are until she was asked to answer them herself.

Watch the eye-opening video, after the jump.

h/t: Media Matters.

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